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Jewish Congress Files Complaint Against U.S. Firm Refusing to Hire Jews

The American Jewish Congress today, in a complaint filed with the New York State Commission Against Discrimination, charged that the Arabian American Oil Company refuses to hire Jews both for its Saudi Arabian and its New York operations. The oil company, ARAMCO, operates the American oil concession in Saudi Arabia.

Shad Polier, vice-president of the American Jewish Congress, who signed the complaint stated: “The refusal of ARAMCO to hire Jews for its overseas work has long been notorious. Indeed in a prior proceeding before SCAD in 1950, ARAMCO advised the State Commission that it had an understanding with the Saudi Arabian government to screen all prospective employees for work in Arabia before they applied for Arabian visas, for the purpose of excluding persons of the Jewish faith to whom visas will not be granted.”

“Perhaps the Saudi Arabian government will persist in its flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter by its discriminatory anti-Jewish policies, but there is no reason to allow it to export its anti-Semitism to American soil. Nor is ARAMCO entitled to take advantage of the incomparable procurement and hiring facilities of New York State unless it lives up to the requirements of New York laws that forbid religious discrimination in hiring.”

Mr. Polier revealed that in 1950 when the issue first arose before SCAD, the Political Advisor for the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs of the State Department urged SCAD not to have “anything interfere with the existing relationship between the Arabian government and the Arabian American Oil Company” and that SCAD had accordingly held that religion was a “bona fide occupational qualification” for employment in Saudi Arabia

The American Jewish Congress leader declared: “We hope that SCAD will not again yield to this type of pressure from the State Department. Indeed in view of the unanimous adoption by the United States Senate on July 25, 1956, of Senate Resolution 323 in which it declared that any attempt by foreign nations to create religious distinctions among our citizens in the granting of personal or commercial access or any other rights otherwise available to the United States citizens generally is inconsistent with our principles, it is hope that the State Department will cease its interference in behalf of Saudi Arabia and ARAMCO.”

Mr. Polier pointed out also that the American Jewish Congress complaint charges ARAMCO with a refusal to hire Jews even for its United States operations, a policy which cannot be defended by citing the visa requirements of Saudi Arabia.

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